Former AFSL director jailed for six years after $46m shortfall

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The former sole director of an AFSL that collapsed owing more than $46 million has been charged with multiple offences and sentenced to six-and-a-half years in jail.

Russell Johnson, the former director of Sonray Capital Markets Pty Ltd received the sentence in the Victorian Supreme Court, which was handed down as a result of an ASIC investigation into the company.

His offences included false accounting, theft and deceptions, and conspiracy to steal.

In total, he faced up to 65 years of imprisonment.

Johnson will be eligible for parole after three-and-a-half years of jail time.

The former CEO of Sonray and Johnson’s brother-in-law Scott Murray was sentenced to five years jail for ten charges in October 2011.

He had a non-parole period of two years and six months.

In sentencing Johnson, Justice Macaulay said the conduct engaged in was a serious example of the crimes charged, and that they had been committed with “a sophisticated degree of orchestration and planning”.

ASIC Chairman Greg Medcraft said, “The collapse of Sonray, which held millions of dollars in funds for several thousand clients, was in part due to the complete disregard of the law by senior members of the company.”

Sonray, one of the first brokers in Australia to provide advice on contracts for difference, was established in 2003 and held an AFSL.

On 22 June 2010, John Lindholm and George Georges of Ferrier Hodgson were appointed voluntary administrators, and on 27 October 2010 Sonray was placed into liquidation. According to Ferrier Hodgson, Sonray had (as at 22 June 2010) a shortfall of $46.7 million.


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